14 Common Sources of Mold Allergies In Your Home That Are Making You Sick
Do you feel worse when the weather is damp? Do damp, musty basements bother you? Do you feel miserable if you’re near hay, straw, leaves, or a compost pile? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you probably are allergic to molds. Read on to find useful ways to reduce mold allergies.
What are molds?
Molds are fungi that live off decaying plant life. Molds give off spores that become airborne. When these spores are inhaled by a sensitive person, they produce allergy symptoms.
Molds exist both inside and outside the home. Outside, their spores can be inhaled when one cuts the grass, rakes leaves, hikes in a forest, or does anything outside during warm, humid weather or during hot, dry, windy days.
Inside the home, molds are found in unfinished basements, bathrooms, dried flowers and potted plants, camping equipment, leather goods, stored foods, beer, wine, vinegar, and soy sauce. Molds also thrive in air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and furnace filters that are not cleaned regularly. In essence, molds inhabit damp, warm, dark, poorly ventilated areas.
What are the symptoms of mold allergies?
Allergy symptoms from molds are essentially the same as any allergy symptoms, consisting of sneezing, watery eyes, itchy nose, coughing, skin irritations and rashes and trouble breathing, to name just a few.
If you are diagnosed as sensitive to molds, take the following measures to reduce mold allergies.
1. Reduce dampness
Reducing excessive humidity is the primary goal if you want to reduce mold allergies. If the basement is damp, the mortar may be cracked or defective, there may be cracks in the basement walls, or inadequate drainage. Check rain spouts to be sure that the spouts aren’t directing rainwater too close to the foundation. Make sure all drains are in working order.
After you have assessed all the structural issues you can still benefit from the use of an appropriate dehumidifier. Moisture in your home can come from many sources such as outside air, showering, laundry, cooking and so on. Installing a dehumidifier will ensure humidity is kept at a level that does not encourage mold growth.
2. House dust
Reduce the level of house dust in every room, especially in the bedrooms.
3. Surface areas
Wash window ledges and shower stalls with Lysol or bleach at least once every two months.
Use mold-resistant paint for the walls of unfinished basements.
5. House plants
Remove house plants, or try to keep them to a minimum> Alternatively, cover the soil with aluminum foil. There are solutions one can add to potting soil that inhibit the growth of molds.
6. Crawl spaces
Be sure that crawl spaces have adequate drainage to remove standing water. To reduce moisture even more, cover the floor in these spaces with heavy polyethylene sheets.
Frequently clean furnace filters, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, and vaporizers to prevent the accumulation of mold.
This is a prime location for mold growth, especially wallpaper in bathrooms. If you do paper bathroom walls, add borax or boric acid to the paste to inhibit the growth of mold.
9. Damp clothes
Should be laundered and dried immediately to prevent mildew.
Must be properly vented to the outdoors to prevent the accumulation of moisture.
11. Poorly ventilated rooms
Use an electric fan to enhance the circulation of air.
12. Towels and shower curtains
Expedite the drying process to prevent mildew and reduce mold allergies.
13. Odds and ends
Papers, old carpeting, old furniture, rags, and so on should be thrown out immediately.
Install and activate a dehumidifier in high-risk areas (such as the basement). Ideally, your goal should be to ensure the optimum relative humidity throughout your home.
Reduce exposure to molds from outdoors
Avoid the danger areas listed below if you are sensitive to molds. Remember, molds are found both indoors and outdoors. They are associated with dampness and high humidity. A mold-sensitive person should take measures to eliminate indoor mold and should avoid sources of outdoor mold as much as possible.
Follow the steps outlined to reduce mold allergies.
Sources of Indoor Mold
- Crawl spaces
- Bathroom tiles
- Damp closets
- Potted plants
- Refrigerator trays
- Soiled surfaces
- Old bedding and pillows
- Stored foods (especially cheese, bread, fruit)
- Unfinished or damp basements
Sources of Outdoor Mold
- Compost heaps
- Hay cutting
- Damp garages
- Garden sheds
- Nature trails
- Grass cuttings
- Raking leaves
- Grain storage
- Humid weather